Eemaan Rameez Commencement Speech

Saturday, May 16, 2009
SNHU Communications Office

Eemaan Rameez, M.S. in Operations and Project Management, School of Business

Welcome, my fellow graduates, distinguished faculty, administration and honored guests.

All of us have a story to tell; it may be a page or volumes of books. Each of our stories is unique and ours to share. Southern New Hampshire University has its own story; it is the collection of stories about remarkable individuals such as all of you who strived, long and hard, to arrive at this chapter of your lives.

Many ask about my story: How did I end up from the tropical Maldives to the four seasons of New Hampshire?

Surely, every one of us has our own story as how we discovered the university, and this is my story. This university may have its roots in Manchester, but it took me from my humble beginnings in the Maldives to the straits of Malaysia, where I discovered this university’s global partner. I took courses at SNHU in Malaysia and my experience increased my lifelong desire to finish my undergraduate work at SNHU in Manchester. Whether you have taken courses primarily at the main campus, satellite locations or online, we have all shared challenges which seemed at times impossible, like finishing a project by deadline, scheduling a group meeting, juggling a family, a job and still getting to an early morning or late evening class.

Challenges are a natural part of life; we give in or face them, succeed and move on. After earning my undergraduate degree in 2003, I returned home to the wonderful sunny paradise, only to face the tsunami that wrecked lives but also rippled waves across the globe with amazing human connections and togetherness. In the midst of this chaos, I was comforted by the global family I had created here at SNHU. You were among the first to reach out. You made me realize that everything global is really local.
Yes, I survived a tsunami, but we have ALL survived our personal tsunamis; tsunamis of sorrow in losing a loved one, tsunamis of a job loss due to a recession and tsunamis of disappointments. You have all weathered your storms. Our stories shared and lessons learned, continue weaving and linking us here and across oceans.

Perhaps we wish our stories did not include tsunami experiences, but we know these experiences can bring us together, strengthen us and add amazing chapters to our journeys. It is in such dark times that we reach out the most, making our individual stories matter the most. I have learned that and you, I’m sure, have as well.

My journey began with a simple dream to study in the United States, but it led to many adventures across the globe and bonding with so many amazing people like you. Like me, all of you have travelled -- some across the globe, some across the states, and some across the Web. We have all made this journey, in our own ways, with high hopes for the betterment not just of ourselves, but to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the Earth. We have discovered that we can, indeed, make a difference in our own corners of the world, whether it is teaching a child how to use a computer, whether developing a proposal for a company, organizing community projects to improve the lives of the less fortunate or simply adopting “green” as a way of life.

As we entered this massive arena today, all of us wanted to make eye contact with the special people who supported us through this journey; I with my dear father and sister, who travelled across the globe. Each of you with those special people in your lives: a parent, a spouse, a child and definitely our dearest friends.

We do not have to say goodbye to this chapter of our story. We can continue to grow the bonds developed here, sharing our accomplishments and hopes – in person, by mail, on Facebook and blogs. Together, then, we will welcome challenges with the light ignited here at Southern New Hampshire University.

Thank you so much and ... congratulations, class of 2009!

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